I Love hot cross buns and for me they are the epitome of Easter food. My lot all like the ones from M&S and although I wouldn't be able to beat them, i've got to say with the orangey dough I think these give them a real run for their money, all for about a quarter of the price.
If you like light and fluffy these aren't the buns for you but for me I love the soft doughy fruity texture, with the crisp topping. One thing to remember is flours all act differently, so add 2/3 of your liquid first, then slowly add the rest to when you feel like you have a nice silky soft dough.
430g strong white bread flour
4 tbsp caster sugar
10g easy action yeast
30g softened unsalted butter
200ml milk hand heat
70 ml water hand heat
zest of an orange and 3 tbsp juice
2 big handfuls of sultanas
2 tbsp mixed peel paste (I really love the flavour of mixed peel but hate the texture of it, I blend a whole pot & 2 tbsp of boiling water into a paste with a blender then keep in the fridge)
4 tbsp plain flour
water to mix
2 tbsp golden syrup
In a free standing machine put the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast mix together and make a well in the centre.
In a jug add the juice, milk and water give a little stir, then pour into the flour mix, with the bread hook knead for 2-3 minutes then add the orange zest, sultanas and mixed peel paste and butter knead for another 6 minutes.
Oil the bowl put the dough back, cover and leave to prove for one to two hours or until doubled in size.
Turn out the dough knock back knead for a minute divide into 12 equal parts shape into roll shapes and pop onto a large baking tray, cover with an oiled plastic bag, for about 60-80 minutes, until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven 200˚c
Mix 4 tbsp flour with some water to a paste, spoon into a piping bag and pipe the crosses onto the buns.
Brush with a little egg wash and bake at 200˚c for about 20-25 minutes, mix the golden syrup with a little boiling water and brush over the buns pop back into the oven for 5 minutes.
*If you'd like a little cinnamon mix up to a tsp into the syrup glaze before brushing onto the buns
For a SIMNEL inspired HCB add 2 tsps of mixed spice along with the flour and a baby tomato sized piece of marzipan into the centre of each piece of dough shape the dough around it.
*Best eaten on the day of baking or toasted the next day
* Bake the buns slightly touching for a softer side bun.